CHAPTER 2- Soul of the damned
"Hurry up Erika, you don't want to be left behind!" Hans yelled from their Leopard 1A5's driving hatch.
"Coming!" Erika coming while still trying to wear her tank flak vest. With an agility of a well-trained athlete, she hopped onto the tank and stood on top of the turret, with Erich greeting him, also standing on top of the turret.
"Next time... Be quick when taking that dump" Erich pats her heads hard.
"Sorry" Erika naively smirked as she put her beret cap back on and hopped into her gunner compartment.
"Alright we're done here!" Erich yelled to his platoon while signalling that his tank is read; like the rest of his platoon tanks "All tanks, move out!" He signalled the other tanks as he hopped inside the commander compartment, standing on top of his seat watching his platoon's tanks firing up their engines.
"Hans, move out" Erich ordered to move the tank forward.
Momentarily, other tanks moved out. Their platoon consist of 2 Leopard 1A5, 1 Leopard 1A4, and 1 Leopard 1A3. The tank convoy exited their platoon headquarter; with the tracks rattled and engines roaring. When they reached the gates, the American Humvee convoy were already waiting for them.
Their convoy soon entered the R101 roadway that will lead them to Mitrovicë. Since they are now traveling at road speed, most of the crew; especially the turret crew of the Leopard 1 Platoon opened their hatch and enjoying the countryside.
"Say kid, I know you're not pure German and all that stuff, how exactly your mother came here to German?" Josef inquired to Erika while standing on his loader seat viewing the outside scenery, asking her using the radio connection on their headset.
"Yeah, we are wondering too" Hans also wondered.
"My mom was an Osaka-born Japanese woman. She migrated to German in around mid-90s." Erika tells her past, sitting calmly while the inside of the tank rattles by the movement "She was married 3 years later with a German workers in the Japanese embassy... I'm not sure how they met, they just married... and that was what my mom told me"
"I assume you can talk Japanese" Erich interfered.
"Too bad that language skills is useless here" Erich replied, making fun of her, followed by Josef's laughter.
"Hey! Cut that out! Stop making fun of her!" Hans tried to stop them "Sorry Erika... they are really like this every day"
"Uh... yeah" said Erika, still with her naive attitude confused on what happened.
"Keep your eyes on the road Hans, the last thing we want is this tank to hit another fucking deer"
-At the same time-
As the convoy travel pass forested area, they are unaware that an enemy sniper team has been watching their movement by the time they left their base. The 2-man sniper team was heavily camouflaged with Ghillie suits, and the sniper rifle protruded out and pointed towards the convoy; albeit covered with foliage to mask the rifle.
"Command post-Command post, this is Black Adder" the sniper contacted his headquarter using radio.
"Command post here" Headquarter command replied/
"I've got visual of moving convoy moving north, presumably towards Mitrovica" the enemy sniper reported "5 Bundeswehr tanks and 7 US Army's humvee"
"Standby" Headquarter command trying to verify "Roger, we have it on our sight. We'll notify our client right now"
"What are the order now Command post?"
"For now, retreat to extraction point alpha"
"Roger" He replied.
"Egressing?" the sniper asked her spotter, her female voice was clearly heard by him even though it was faint.
"Yes" He replied.
10 kilometers passed and Erich's platoon has traveled smoothly until radio chatters disrupted him. The American Humvees; mostly armed with .50cal machine gun and 40mm automatic-grenade launcher scanned the rear sector for a sign of enemy.
"Charlie Platoon, come in" the garbled radio noise soon cleared up, It was Captain Higgendorf that was contacting them.
"This is Charlie Platoon, over" Erich grabbed the radio and responded.
"What's your status?" Higgendorf asked for any update from the convoy.
"We're still on our way, arriving ETA, momentarily" Erich replied, looking around the scenery as it passes by.
"Be advised, hostile vehicles sighted few minutes ago heading towards your convoy" "The enemy might be RPG team dispatched by the enemy headquarter to intercept your convoy"
"Sheesh... they won't make our job easy..." Erich sighed "Roger command, we'll take caution if the enemy is meant for us"
"Enemy incoming?" Josef asked him after the earlier radio conversation caught his attention.
"Jawohl" Erich replied "All tanks, enemy incoming, get ready" Erich ordered the other tanks to prepare themselves.
"Roger" All 4 tanks replied. The American convoy also responded.
All of the crew later hopped inside their tanks, getting ready to intercept the incoming enemy. The loader hatches were closed and the loader getting ready to shove the main gun ammunition into the breech. Hans closed his driving hatch to prepare for the engagement.
"Get ready kid, this will be your first battle" Erich pats Erika's shoulder.
"Y-yes sir!" she replied with loud voice. She grabbed the turret traverse control and ready to engage any target sighted.
Erich stood from his commander seat and grabbed his binocular. He scanned the area for any sign of enemy. Just as their convoy passed heavy thick forest, Erich sighted the hostile vehicle; it was a Russian-made jeep mounted with Dushka machine gun; and it was manned. Next to the jeep was the disembarked enemy holding RPG rockets.
"Scheisse!" Erich cussed "Target, 11 o'clock, 900 meters"
With a swift movement, Erika traversed the turret and spots the target.
"Identified!" She yelled.
"Joe, load HEP round"
"Jawohl!" Josef responded, quickly taking the 105mm High explosive-Plastic ammunition from the hull ammunition stowage. He gently picked it and later inserted the 105mm round into the breech. As soon as the round was inserted, the breech block automatically closed, leaving the gun primarily armed.
"Up!" Josef exclaimed, a sign of the round being loaded into the breech and ready.
"Achtung!" With the yell from Erika warning the loader to avoid the gun recoil, she pressed the trigger. In an instant, the 105mm HEP rounds exited the gun barrel and impacted the target. Simultaneously after the gun is fired, the breech opened, ejecting the spent brass casing into the tray just attached below the gun's big breech.
Smoke soon engulfed the turret interior as Erika trying to asses if the target is down. The shot was taken while the tank was still travelling at road speed. Their tank closes to the disabled enemy vehicle when Erich spotted something among the charred wreck of the jeep.
"Target, armed personnel!" Erich spotted one of the enemy still alive and trying to aim the RPG towards their tank "Erika, use Co-Ax!"
"Jawohl!" replied Erika. Quickly, she switched from the main gun optics to the coaxial machine gun optic just next to it and aimed the coaxial machinegun towards the enemy. In an instant, both Erika and the enemy fired their weapons.
It was Erika that claimed the first shot; the 7.62 NATO rounds fired from the MG3 Co-axial mount hits the enemy first before they can align the sight of their rockets. The enemy fell, but not before firing the rocket towards the tank. Though, lucky for them, the rocket missed by several feets up towards the air and soon detonated midair.
Everyone inside the 'Lilien' sighed of relief; especially Erika, her first combat was intense and nerve-wracking.
"Good shot kid" Erich congratulates her, patting her shoulder again, this time in more gentle motion.
"T-thanks, Feldwebel" Erika carved a smile as she tanks him.
"Now, continue looking forward, we don't want any enemy stragglers to take us out unnoticed"
"Yes sir" She replied happily. For her, it was big moment full of appreciation and happiness after being praised by her commander.
"All tanks, keep your eyes for any suspicious movement, there must be more of them lurking around trying to get us from our back"
"Roger" Milda replied as she commands her Leopard 1A4 'Rosen' to keep its pace with the lead tank 'Lilien'.
"Jawohl" Michael, the commander for the Leopard 1A5 'Lenzian' replied
"Jawohl" Ulrich, the commander for Leopard 1A3 'Callas' replied as his tank guards the middle of the American Humvee convoy.
"You can count on us to guard our back" Adelino, the commander of Leopard 1A3 'Amaryllis' replied while his tank guards the rear end of the convoy.
"We're almost there, we're now reaching Mitrovicë" Erich notifies his platoon as the town's edge is appearing on his sight.
To be continued...